As expected, Clemson on Sunday night was included among the NCAA Tournament selection committee’s 16 picks for regional host sites. That gives the Tigers a huge advantage in pursuit of a spot in the super regionals next week, but landing one of the eight national seeds during the full bracket reveal Monday could be critical to Clemson's hopes of moving on to the College World Series for the first time since 2010.
Clemson in the super regional era, which began in 1999, is 0-5 in super regionals played on the road. The Tigers have not played a road super regional since losing at Arizona State in 2009, or in any super regional since a home loss to current Houston Astros star George Springer and Connecticut in 2011.
Most NCAA Tournament projections have Clemson hovering between a No. 8 and No. 9 seed; the top eight seeds are national seeds guaranteed to host super regionals if they advance through regional play.
Aaron Fitt, a veteran analyst who works for d1baseball.com, on Sunday had Florida, Stanford, Arkansas, Mississippi and Oregon State as national seeds with Clemson, Florida State and Georgia as “on the bubble in” with North Carolina and Stetson as “on the bubble out.”
Clemson’s case for a national seed: 45-14 overall and 22-8 in the ACC; Clemson won eight straight games before a 5-4 loss Saturday to Florida State in an ACC Tournament semifinal game in Durham (FSU beat Louisville in the ACC championship game Sunday).
Case against: Clemson remains 11th in the NCAA’s official Ratings Percentage Index.
“We won 19 of our (previous) 21 games,” Clemson coach Monte Lee said after Saturday’s loss to Florida State. “It’s hard to send a lot of messages – just keep doing what you’re doing. We’ll learn from this and we’ll be better from it. But I don’t know if we can compete any harder.”
Clemson hosted regionals in Lee’s first two years as head coach but watched Oklahoma State and Vanderbilt advance from Doug Kinsgsmore Stadium to the super regionals.
Coastal Carolina, Sun Belt champs and consistent all season, also landed a regional. The Chanticleers won the 2016 College World Series.
The full list of regional host sites: Clemson, Conway (Coastal Carolina), Athens (Georgia), Austin (Texas), Chapel Hill (North Carolina), Corvallis (Oregon State), Deland (Stetson), Fayetteville (Arkansas), Gainesville (Florida), Greenville, N.C., (East Carolina), Lubbock (Texas Tech), Minneapolis (Minnesota), Oxford (Ole Miss), Raleigh (N.C. State), Stanford and Tallahassee (Florida State).
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff.